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Do charging points for electric vehicles really need to look like boxy petrol station pumps? Or are there less voluminous and more practicable solutions for cities that are notoriously short on space? Start-up company Trojan Energy has a new type of electric charging point that is installed flat and flush with the pavement. It negates the need for permanently raised obtrusive equipment on the side of the road. Disability Rights UK participated in the system’s development to improve safety for all road users. Five Trojan Energy charging points have been installed on Mortimer Road in London to give a small group of trial participants a chance to test the prototype system in real-world conditions.

The charging points represent an important step in the three-year Subsurface Technology for Electric Pathways (STEP) project. Funded by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) and administered by Innovate UK, the project involves the development of charging points through to the ready-for-use stage. The flush charging system is intended for anyone who does not have access to off-street parking. The technology consists of two elements: a charger recessed into the ground and a lance that is inserted into the charger to start the charging process. The charging point is only visible when it is actually charging a vehicle. Pavements will otherwise remain clear for pedestrians, wheelchairs, buggies, children, teenagers on phones, delivery couriers, street sweepers and many others. The charging power is 2 to 22 kW and up to 18 chargers can run in parallel from one electricity grid connection. A full trial of the system, featuring 150 charging points across the boroughs of Brent and Camden, is planned to begin at some point this year.

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